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Is there a strong odour coming from your bathroom? The chances are high that the smell is emanating from the drains. Bathroom drains tend to have a foul smell that requires immediate elimination. No matter how hard you try to keep your bathroom drains clean, grease and other things always find their way into your drains. When you notice an odour, you should take the right steps to eliminate it.

This article focuses on how to get rid of smelly drains. However, before looking at that, let’s look at the major causes of drains smell.

Causes of Smelly Bathroom Drains

Woman Fix the Bathroom Pipe

Here are some of the major reasons for a smelly drain in your bathroom:

  • Bacteria Build-Up

One of the causes of the odour may be gunk or bacteria build-up in your bathroom drains. Take time to think of the many things that go down your bathroom drains, including dirt, food, and hair. When these items are stuck in the piping system, you can expect a bad smell. If you notice the bad smell, this is also a sure sign that your bathroom drains are clogged. You should therefore ensure that the drains are cleared to help remove the smell and the clog.

  • Dry P-trap

If it’s been a while since you last used your bathroom drains, it is necessary to run the water and refill the P-trap to get rid of the smell. Drain lines usually feature a goose-necked section of pipe installed to prevent sewer gas from moving up through the bathroom drain.

If a bathroom sink is not used for some time, the water in the trap evaporates. The empty drains cause a bad odour and allow sewer gas to come into your house. To ensure that the P-traps do not dry out, you should run a little water in all the faucets every fortnight.

  • Missing or Clogged Vent Pipes

You probably do not know that your bathroom drains have a connection to a number of vent pipes. The vent pipes and drain make up the drain waste vent system. The vent pipes allow fresh water in. The pipes also allow wastewater odour and gas to escape. If there is clogging in the main stack, several problems can occur. One of the issues that can occur is smelly drains.

  • Grease

If you allow grease to stick in your bathroom drains, you can expect mould or rotten smell in your home. Therefore, you should never pour grease down your bathroom drain. The grease may come from some of the soap or other oily products that you or your family use inside the bathroom.

  • Drain Trap

If you do not have the right drain trap in your bathtub or sink, you may end up having an odour from the bathroom drains. Without the trap, you have nothing to block the smell from coming up into your home. Therefore, make sure you have a drain trap installed to prevent this problem.

  • Dirty Bathroom or Toilet

The other cause of smelly drains may be dirty bathrooms or toilets. This may occur if you do not clean and sanitise your bathroom properly. If you do not clean and sanitise your bathroom, germs and bacteria can form. The germs develop on your bathroom’s washbasin, toilet seat, and flooring causing the drains to smell. The germs and bacteria may also grow in the bathroom drains, leading to a bad odour.

  • Broken or Cracked Sewer Piping

The sewer pipes are located inside your bathroom walls and can lead to a bad smell in your bathroom. The foul smell can be caused by several reasons, including cracks, leaks, broken or blocked drains.

  • Basin Waste and Push Plugs

Push plugs are the fittings that remove the inconvenience of having to look for a plug to fill your bathroom basin. However, these plugs can accumulate toothpaste, soap, and hair with time. The build-up hardens and congeals, making the push plugs stick. All the build-up can cause a sulphur smell to emanate from your drain.

  • Overflow of the Basin

The basin waste is located at the front or back of the basin. It helps ensure there is no overflow if you leave the top open and overfill your basin. Water rises in the basin and then overflows through the hole and back to the basin waste. With time the overflow hole builds up with cleaning products, dust, and other wastewater, leading to a bad smell.

  • Damaged Toilet Waste Collar

The toilet can also be a major cause of smelly drains. A bad smell occurs if the rubber seal that connects the toilet pan to the waste drain gets damaged. The rubber seal on the toilet pan collar fitting can get loose due to age or dryness.

Getting Rid of Smelly Drains in the Bathroom

Woman Cleaning the Bathroom

After learning some of the causes of smelly drains in a bathroom, it is time to get rid of the smell. When you get rid of the smell, you can enjoy taking a relaxing shower or bath. It also makes you feel comfortable in your home since there is no foul odour. The good thing is that it is easy to get rid of the smelly drains.

Here are some of the most effective ways to eliminate smelly drains in your bathroom:

  • Perform a Smell Test

The first thing you should do is to test the smell. The type of smell emanating from your bathroom drains can help you determine the cause. If you have a musty smell, there may be mould growing under your bathroom drain cover. You should have a feel of the drain cover to find out if it is loose. If it is not sealed well, the tiny wet space can act as a breeding place for mould.

  • Clean the Area Around the Bathroom Drain

After recognising the cause of the smelly drains, you should start by cleaning the area around the drain. Remove the drain cover and have the area cleaned. If the smell results from mildew, you can use a simple spray, leave for some minutes and then wipe down. You may also have to scrub the drain cover and tub with a toothbrush. If you do not get positive results by following these steps, you need to invest in a new drain cover.

  • Clean the Bathroom Pipes

You can easily clean a smelly drain. Start by pouring a half cup of bleach down the bathroom drain then allow it to sit for an hour. Proceed to boil about five cups of water and pour some down the bathroom drain. If the pipes are plastic, pouring boiling water is not advisable as it can cause severe damage. With plastic pipes, you need to use the hot water from the tap. After that, sprinkle baking soda down your drain. Follow up using vinegar. You will hear a fizzing sound as the vinegar, and baking soda react. Wait for some minutes, and then pour the rest of the hot water down the drain. Complete the bathroom drain cleaning process by running hot water from the tap for about five minutes. This helps get rid of the odour and its cause.

  • Check the P-trap

If you experience sulphur like odour from the bathroom drain, you may have a dry P-trap. A P-trap helps in ensuring that sewer gas does not enter your house by trapping some water. To inspect a P-trap, you should shine a flashlight down your bathroom drain. If you find water, it shows that the P-trap is not dry. If it is dry, you should pour three cups of hot water down the bathroom drain then wait for about one hour.

Proceed to confirm whether the water is still there. If you do not use your shower often, pour three ounces of oil down the bathroom drain; cooking oil can do.

Note: Oil usually evaporates slower than water, and this helps it prevent a bad smell.

  • Clear Hair from the Drain

Trapped hair is one of the major causes of a smelly drain. However, it is easy to prevent. The best way is to brush your hair before you can wash it in your shower or bathtub. Doing so helps to get rid of tangled, loose, or excess hair that can clog your bathroom drain.

  • Invest in a Hair Catcher

It is always advisable to check your shower drain’s condition. If your shower has an open drain without any cover, you need to install a hair catcher. A hair catcher helps prevent hair from accumulating inside the drain, which would cause a bad smell.

  • Use a Toilet Plunger

A toilet plunger helps prevent a clogged shower drain. You should fill the drain with ample water to ensure the rubber top on the plunger is fully covered and plunge away. The water will go down, and if it fails, you should try again. Doing this helps remove the clog that may be causing the bad smell.

  • Use a Drain Snake

A drain snake is a perfect tool that can help you get rid of stubborn clogs. Also known as a toilet auger, it can help remove the hardcore clogs that may be causing the bad smell. When using it, get rid of the drain cover, push the drain snake in, then crank the handle. If there is any form of resistance, it shows you have hidden the cause of the bathroom drain clog. Rotate the snake to help break the clog. When the resistance is over, pull the drain snake from the bathroom drain. Then, run water for some minutes to clear everything and ensure that your drain is free of any clogs.

  • Call a Professional Plumber

With your limited knowledge of how a bathroom drain works, you may find it tricky to remove the odour. Therefore, you should call a reliable plumber to help get rid of the smelly drains. Professionals have the skills required to inspect drains to determine the cause of the odour. A thorough assessment allows them to offer you a long-lasting solution to your odour problem. Moreover, plumbers have all the right tools and products to solve your smelly drain problem. Plumbers can also give you advice on how you can prevent smelly bathroom drains in the future.

A Plumber May be the Solution for Smelly Drains

You can prevent the problem of smelly bathroom drains by pouring hot vinegar down the drain every week. This helps remove the body oil and soap scum. You should also avoid shedding hair on your shower drain because this will ultimately lead to clogging and a bad smell. Working with a professional plumber is the best solution to ensure that your drains are always clean and your bathroom is in the right shape.

If you want to apply DIY to get rid of smelly drains, make sure that you only use the right products or tools. Doing so ensures you do not cause damages to your bathroom drains.


Our Customers

Christopher Chow

I called Hero Plumbing to unblock a shower drain and was unable to get a quote over the phone, but Sam the owner was here same day. After his first try, he made quick work of the blockage. I opted to also get the acid cleaner stuff poured down. Sam had run out, but made a trip to go pick some up to finish the job. If you opt for this treatment make sure you can easily air the bathroom as it’s extremely strong and produces a lot of fumes. Great Service and Honest Pricing.

Sarah Lincon

Hero Plumbing has been excellent since there first phone call.
I spoke to a gentlemen names Sam which he organised a technician to come and replace our hot water heater.
The technician was excellent called me 30mins before arrival explained the whole job to me and gave me an upfront price.
Excellent work Hero team.
We are a Hero member now and always look forward to working with them.

Jared Evans

We've used Hero Plumbing previously. Both times reliable and flexible with changing times (helpful during covid ISO periods!)
Hayden was on time and explained the issue clearly, fixed it,then also did some extra checks on water pressure and taps to ensure there were no underlying issues.
Would recommend their services.

Denzi K

Hero Plumbing has been our go to plumber for years.

They replaced our hot water system with excellent workmanship, professionalism and in a timely manner - as always!

Hayden Davidson

Brilliant service from the first phone call to Hero Plumbing as Sam the manager booked us in very efficiently. I received a confirmation  email, a phone call on approach and all went smoothly & work conducted was beautiful . The team did a great job even dig up on our sewer and cut concrete & repaired the issue and our sewer is running like a dream.
Thanks for your great efforts guys!


Victoria Barmina

I knew Sam when he was working alone. And from the first time I was pleasantly surprised by his work. A little later I found out that he has his own business. I am very happy about that. And I am very glad for myself that I have such a company that I can always rely on.

Thank you for your work. People need you very much.

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